Itís been almost two months since Iíve written but the time has surely
flown by. There is a lot of excitement here at the moment, because the first
snowfall of the season is coming down. The boys have listened with envy to
accounts of seven foot snowfalls in Buffalo, and even snow in the Deep South,
and have felt seriously ill-used that we have had none. The adults are all
grateful for the easy weather, especially for Nana and Poppa, who have enough of
an adjustment to make from Hawaiian weather, but the boys have longed for a real
winter. I just went over and checked on Mom and Dad, and they seem perfectly
cosy and perfectly willing to stay safe inside. We will carry over emergency
rations if that becomes necessary!
Since I last wrote they have fully moved in next door, although they join us
for dinner. Bit by bit they are furnishing the place with essentials. At the
moment, the room with the most stuff in it is the basement, as the bulk of their
belongings is memorabilia Ė letters, photos, books, and ancient instruments.
They have been surprised at how busy they keep, even without the YWAM
responsibilities. Of course, Mom comes over here and ends up doing my laundry
and my housekeeping, too! One unexpected benefit of their move here is that we
see much more of my brother David than we did before, even though he is only one
town over. They usually spend Sundays with him, and he has done more than a few
projects around the house for them.
Mom and Dad have found that the role of grandparent is an active one. They
have gone with us to a collection of events, such as our church Christmas
program, the Masterís Academy Christmas program, the Masterís Academy
Enrichment Program, a production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the
Moravian Childrenís Love Feast, not to mention the various soccer games and
even the Beedleís Christmas party. When I asked if they wanted to come with us
to the Hansellís New Yearís Eve party, they quickly declined and announced
their intention of seeing the new year arrive from the comfort of their bed!
So many of these events make up our holiday traditions, and if I were writing
more frequently I would have comments to make on each of them. Suffice to say we
have enjoyed a lovely holiday. I always go through a few days of sheer panic,
when I donít think I will be able to pull it off, and this year was no
exception. I very much enjoyed setting up a wrapping camp next door, where I
could wrap presents without interruption and listen to Dadís nice stereo
system at the same time. I have become comfortable taking a number of shortcuts
or postponements (our traditional Chex mix didnít get made till after
Christmas, and I still havenít made a batch of homemade cookies) yet we
certainly didnít lack in any significant way. In fact, I am better off than
last year, as I actually got the Christmas letter written and mailed, and the
church presents all made and delivered. We even had the usual post-Christmas
colds in a much milder than usual form.
John and Gailís family came from New Jersey, as usual, for several days,
and this time they brought along Gailís sister Karen and her family. We
managed around twenty people surprisingly well. We purchased a bunch of air beds
and everyone had at least that on which to sleep. Michael Carter also came for a
few days. We had some fun games of Dictionary and a trip to see Lord of the
Rings. I led a walking tour of historic Bethlehem, substituting the
thrilling climax of seeing the grave of Tschoop, the Indian on whom James
Fenimore Cooper based his Chingachgook, since the putz was closed. Aunt Gail and
I took Julianne and Ben bowling, but only after I gave Gail the Grand Tour of
our new deluxe grocery store, Wegmanís, which even provides free babysitting.
(I also had to take Daniel and Christopher on a similar Grand Tour, and the boys
are now accusing me of having a Wegmanís addiction.)
Having John and Gail here (my brother David, too, of course) was kind of a deja
vu of Thanksgiving, when we were also together for several days. At
Thanksgiving, though, we were consumed with working through a list of 29 items
on a to-do list for my parentís house. We had amazingly mild weather, and
therefore were able to accomplish most of the list, things both inside and out.
The reality dawning on all of us is that by purchasing a house next to ours (and
therefore of the same era) Mom and Dad have acquired a bottomless pit of
fit-it-up projects, none of which, to quote the famous phrase, is ever simple.
However, many hands make work light, and it truly was a lot of fun to be helping
all together. Mom was so inspired by the experience that she wants everyone to
come again and tackle our basement Ė a task akin to cleaning the Aegean
After our houseguests left, we headed down to the farm for a few days. First
we had to go to Baltimore to pick up Danielís clothes, which had inadvertently
been left behind when he came home for Christmas. When we arrived at the farm
Uncle Allan was cleaning pig stomachs which the boys found fascinating in a
gruesome way. I later served stuffed pig stomach for New Yearís Day. Uncle
Dale was around more than usual, and we even went out to dinner with him one
night. We stopped at the farmerís market on Saturday to see Granddaddy in his
element (he has the longest running stall at that market) and have breakfast
tenderloin sandwiches at the counter there. Aunt Amy came back from Ohio just in
time to have us all over for Sunday dinner. Everyone was in good health and very
kind to put up with us descending on them.
With Epiphany the holiday season is officially over, but since we were late
in getting our tree up, we are a little loathe to take it down now. Although we
must start school work in earnest, we might just hang on to the holiday
decorations a bit longer. I have always thought of January as one of the best
months. It is a time to snuggle indoors and enjoy oneís Christmas presents. (I
got some very nice ones, by the way --books, CDs, and cookies!) Daniel is off in
Salt Lake City skiing with his roommateís family this week. He comes home for
one day to take care of some dental work, and then he returns to Baltimore.
I think I have touched on the highlights, except one. Mom was harboring a
secret which others kept leaking out, though we pretended not to notice. Then
finally on Christmas morning she presented each of us with our own copies of her
newly published book, Precious Pearls, a collection of autobiographical
devotionals. She had been working on this project for a couple years, writing
down some family stories as a heritage for us and the grandchildren. It was an
uncanny experience for me to read a book in which I could so clearly hear the
authorís voice as I read. along. We are so deeply grateful for this legacy.
When it is made into a movie, I would like Meg Ryan to have my part! And now we
want to encourage Dad to get his stories written.